Old Trail Town Museum in Cody, Wyoming

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Man Street, Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming

Man Street, Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming

Cody Wyoming is a very nice little town that is plumb full of history. Of course the oldest history is of the Native Americans who lived here for thousands of years, but after them  came Lewis and Clark, the Mountain Men, pioneers, miners, cowboys, ranchers and settlers. Of course at the center of much of it is William, “Buffalo Bill,” Cody who founded the town in 1896. His name is everywhere in and around the town, most prominently at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (http://centerofthewest.org/).  I’ll talk about that in a later post. In this post I want to tell you about the other major tourist attraction in Cody, Old Trail Town.
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Old Trail Town is a collection of buildings built by the early pioneers to the area around Cody during the late 1800s, get more information here: http://www.oldtrailtown.org/. To create the museum, they were dismantled from their old locations and brought here and reassembled piece by piece at the exact location that Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody. Just the empty buildings wouldn’t be very interesting, so many of them are also filled with antiques from the area and time period. Whenever possible, there are photos of the actual owners of the buildings. For example, they have Curley’s cabin, who was Custer’s head Indian Scout and who survived the battle of Little Big Horn. But they have much more than just the building, inside are many photos of him and even Custer and antiques from the time period. Together, you get a very good feel for how people were actually living at the time.
The cabin Curley lived in after the end of the Indian Wars.

The cabin Curley lived in after the end of the Indian Wars.

Another aspect of Old Trail Town is a small graveyard with a few historical figures from the 1800s. Their graves were exhumed and their remains brought here and re-buried. The most famous is mountain man John Johnson who was the model for the 1972 movie “Jeremiah Johnson” in which Robert Redford portrayed his life. I found the small graveyard oddly emotional when you thought of the men and women who lived and died in this very country and their bones were buried right there, just a few feet away from you. You can get more information on who’s buried there at his page: http://www.oldtrailtown.org/gravesites/
The grave of the real "Jeremiah Johnson", mountain man.

The grave of the real “Jeremiah Johnson”, mountain man.

This cabin was used as a museum and on this wall are the obituaries of all the people buried in the graveyard. It also includes the newspaper artices from their tie and when their bodies were exhumed and moved to Old Trail Town. There are several letters written by the people in the graves.

This cabin was used as a museum and on its walls are the obituaries of all the people buried in the graveyard. It also includes newspaper articles from their time and also new ones from when their bodies were exhumed and moved to Old Trail Town. There are personal articles and several letters written by the people in the graves.

It costs $9 to go through the town and it was well worth it to me. I love the history of the Old West and feel a strong affinity for the Native Americans, Mountain Men and cowboys who lived it. I tremendously enjoyed going through Old Trail Town and being transported back in time to an era I regret missing. I’ve always thought I was born at the wrong time!  Highly recommended!

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Butch Cassidy spent a lot fo time in this part of Wyoming and committed numerous crimes here.

Butch Cassidy spent a lot of time in this part of Wyoming and committed numerous crimes in the area. He is known to have used this cabin as a hideout.

The cabin Butch Cassidy and his gang hid out in.

The cabin Butch Cassidy and his gang hid out in. All these building give you a real sense of respect for the durability of log buildings! Nearly all of them were built 120 years ago, or even more.

One of the many authentic photos and items from Butch Cassidy's cabin.

One of the many authentic photos and items from Butch Cassidy’s cabin.

A real saloon from the late 1800s Wyoming, moved piece-by-piece to Old Trail Town. Yes, it has swinging doors with real bullet holes.

A real saloon from the late 1800s Wyoming, moved piece-by-piece to Old Trail Town. Yes, it has swinging doors with real bullet holes.

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Rather than tell you all about the buildings that are there, I think pictures tell the story much better than I can, so I’ll let the photos tell the story.
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The Carter cabin left side.

The Homestead cabin left side.

The Carter Cabin, right side.

The Homestead Cabin, right side.

I have many more photos of very interesting buildings and antiques, but I can’t possibly put them all in one post. If you want to get a real feel for the amazing history that you get to see and touch in Old Trail Town, you have to go there for yourself!
An authentic one-room school house.

An authentic one-room school house from 1884.

All the pieces in the school are authentic to the time period.

All the pieces in the school are authentic to the time period.

Information on the school.

Information about the cabin the school was in.

This is an authentic "chuck wagon" used on trail drives in the 1890s.

This is an authentic “chuck wagon” actually used on cattle drives in the 1890s. The same heart that longed for adventure and travel that compelled them to hit the trail still beats in the readers of this blog!

The back end of the chuck wagon.

The back end of the chuck wagon. I can see many similarities between this and a vandweller! Can’t you?

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23 Comments

  1. Lucy

    “…and being transported back in time to an era I regret missing. I’ve always thought I was born at the wrong time! Highly recommended!” Bob, I understand your feelings, often times I feel the same way about events that took place long in the past, but remember, there were no vans, no solar panels, no fridges or endless breeze then, thus you could not have a nice & comfy nomadic life then, so ‘ visit the past & enjoy the present ‘ ! Have wonderful time U & Cody boy.
    My regards, Lucy.

    • Lucy

      Bob, I just thought that U could still be a nomad during those olden times, U could ride a wagon pulled by horses just like a gypsy, couldn’t U ?? LOL.
      Lucy.

      • raz

        you can still be a nomad today. we get at least 1 horse powered wagon a year here. indiana. eat fish and critters. bath in creeks. what a life!
        we have people that live in tents here all year. -20f sometimes. a lot more in summer.
        the life of riley.
        outta ice cream. raz

        • Calvin R (Ohio)

          Hi Raz! Where is “here” for you?

      • Bob

        Lucy, I could even ride the horse!
        Bob

    • Bob

      Good point Lucy, it would not be nearly as comfortble as it is now.
      Bob

    • Ming

      not to mention the health care, dental care, and hygiene of the day… yikes!
      Nice to visit though.

  2. Linda in Ky.

    Hi Bob! Yes, I too have often felt like I was born about 150 years too late! I feel a strong pull toward these pictures & places. Jeremiah Johnson is one of my all time favorite movies! Hoping someday soon I will be traveling the west in my van; seeing all these places. Thanks Bob!

    • Bob

      You’re very welcome Linda! Your time will come!
      Bob

  3. Calvin R (Ohio)

    Cody looks very much like a stop I need to make one of these days. I have a strong interest in the Native Americans and the mountain men. As with many vandwellers, the nomadic mountain men intended to escape, not extend, what we call civilization.

    • Bob

      Very good point Calvin. I think they would be horrified to know they contributed to the destruction of the land they loved by opening the way to so many others.
      Bob

  4. Mark

    Great post on the town, Bob. Cody, Wyoming has been moved up on my list of places to see.
    Mark

    • Bob

      Glad you liked it Mark, you’ll be glad you visited Cody!
      Bob

  5. Linda Sand

    We had those same school desks in the 1950s. Did they really last that long?

    • Calvin R (Ohio)

      We had those into the 1970s.

    • tommy helms

      Things were built to last back in the day

    • Bob

      Linda, you can’t beat the oldest, simplest things! they stand the test of time.
      Bob

  6. Tina

    Hi Bob,
    Will have to add that to my list of places to check out. Really enjoying looking at the pictures.
    Tina

    • Bob

      I’m very glad to give you some ideas Tina!
      Bob

  7. green

    Those photos make my heart swell…
    I also feel an affinity for those times.
    I love to explore ghost towns and old cemeteries,
    where there are often old trees, interesting plants
    and sometimes stories of the people who lived there.
    Just beautiful, thank you Bob.

    • Bob

      You’re very welcome, green!
      Bob

  8. Myddy

    I have always thought it would be neat to recreate a town like this and get enough people to live in it to create an old village of sorts..get back to simpler times. Wish it was easy to do so!
    Of course beautiful pictures and love the look of all the buildings. Would love to see it in person!

    • Bob

      I visited Colonial Williamsburg some years ago which is exactly what you describe but at the time of the American Revolution. I tremendously enjoyed it!!!
      You might look into Mountain Man Rendezvous reenactments, they can be very realistic.
      Bob

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